We use fungi in so many aspects of our day-to-day lives. They are everywhere. Not only are they in our cheeses and breads, but they can be found in our space stations, nuclear reactors, deserts, and even all the way in Antarctica.
Fungi is essential for our ecosystem as it builds up nutrients in the soil and gives life to all plants on earth. You could say that fungi are vital to our world.
Today, fungi are used in different forms for relaxation, concentration, energy, and immune support. However, one specific type of fungi is being studied more intensely than others.
The Amazing Mushroom
Mushrooms are one of nature’s strangest and mysterious organisms. Fungi have an entire kingdom of their own and often grow standing alone or clump together in groups. In fact, there are over 1.5 million species to be found.
You probably didn’t know that mushrooms can be used to construct buildings and cure diseases. People even use them to make clothing items like hats and leather-like skins. Mushrooms can filter out all types of pathogens and act in water filtration systems. Designers, medical researchers, and engineers are utilizing the natural abilities of the mushroom for food, medicine, textiles, fiber, packaging materials, and even biofuel.
Mushrooms have incredible natural ability. Our job is simply to unlock their potential. They can be transformed into absolutely phenomenal applications. Now, everyone is trying to catch up on this growing phenomenon. As we continue to learn about mushrooms, the possibilities are endless.
One particular mushroom is taking the world by storm. This fungus is so widely researched in the medicinal industry that experts have discovered at least ten beneficial qualities within the organism.
This Is the Reishi Mushroom
The Reishi Mushroom, with the scientific name of Ganoderma Lucidum, is one of the most popular mushrooms in the world. It is also one of the most studied fungi in nature.
Also known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ or ‘the spirit mushroom,’ it has been associated with immortality, vitality, wisdom, and health for thousands of years. Obviously, all of those people who chalked it up as the mushroom of immortality are no longer with us, but that doesn’t mean the mushroom doesn’t have its benefits. These guys were on to something.
Reishi mushrooms are found all over the world, ranging across North America, Europe, and Asia. Typically, these mushrooms like to grow on hardwood trees, such as hemlock, oak, and maple.
The texture is like a tough wood with a shiny outer varnish finish. It has a red body and a woody texture. It also has a leathery feel to it with a bitter taste.
Due to the tough feel of the mushroom, the majority of its production and cultivation is geared towards drinking rather than eating.
It is simmered in a pan for roughly two hours with hot water and forms a bitter tea. Some people will use mushroom teas to deepen their meditation. However, after one day’s use, the mushroom will begin to harden.
Reishi In History
Reishi mushrooms are not a new discovery. In fact, the mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. The mushroom is called ‘Ling Zhi’ in Chinese culture and has been around for over 2000 years. In traditional Chinese folklore, it was said that Reishi tea was given from a woman to a man to express her interest.
Back in those days, Reishi was widely used for teas, soups, and broths. But as soon as the western world became more involved in the process of cultivation, Reishi slowly turned towards being sold in the form of powder, tablets, and capsules.
In ancient Taoist texts, it is thought that Taoist priests would include some Reishi mushrooms in their potions to grant a long and healthy life. It was believed that Reishi could calm the mind, strengthen the heart, and build wisdom.
The Production of Reishi
Typically, this fungus is harvested from Southeast China, where the humidity and warmth create the perfect condition for it to thrive. When it is fresh, Reishi will show beautiful ombre colors fading down from a bright yellow into an orange and ending at a deep fiery red color towards the stem. Maturing turns the mushroom to a maroon color when ready to pick.
According to the National Research Centre for Mushrooms, one cycle of growth takes 10-15 days before further production methods can occur. When it comes to harvesting these delicacies, the process is done by holding the root with one hand and pulling up with another.
They are only picked when the mushrooms are at the end of their life cycles and are classified as mature when they have dropped their spores. This can be identified by the maroon colored cap filling with a powder substance.
Amazing Facts About Reishi
Three to five grams are used daily for medicinal use. Due to the tough texture, the mushroom is too hard for culinary consumption.
A lot of mushrooms contain unique medicinal qualities. They act like miniature pharmaceutical factories. Due to these properties, medicinal practices have paid close attention to possible anti-cancer properties and immune system functionality.
1) Reishi Supports the Immune System by Affecting White Blood Cells
Healthline states that the mushroom can enhance immune function due to its effects on white blood cells. White blood cells are the superhero of the body. They fight off infection as best they can. However, studies have shown that there have been mixed results in healthy people and seem to really help those who are ill.
Test-tube studies have shown that Reishi can affect the genes in white blood cells, which form part of our immune system. They do this by altering inflammation pathways.
2) Reishi May Support the Immune System by Activating T Cells
Reishi has also been known to activate our T cells, which help boost the immune system. If you are going through chemotherapy, Reishi protects your healthy cells. Once your immune system has compromised, it may help the immune system bounce back. But like every case study, more information is needed before it can become a part of normal care.
3) Reishi Holds Promise in Cancer Treatment
Anti-cancer properties have been another popular research topic. It holds promise for preventative treatment. There may be a correlation between breast cancer survivors and consumption of the Reishi mushroom, according to one Healthline study.
4) Reishi May Help to Combat Fatigue
As an adaptogen, Reishi mushrooms can do much to battle that always tired feeling some has grown accustomed to. At the molecular level, they may help battle against the body’s stress responses, which includes, you guessed it, exhaustion
5) Reishi Contains Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants can help to reduce the effects associated with premature aging and may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and many others. As an antioxidant, Reishi has become popular for this property alone.
There are several other benefits of the mushroom. In addition to the awesome benefits listed above, Reishi has also been found to be useful for
6) Adrenal Support
8) Sleeping Cycles
9) Regulating and Relaxing the Mind
10) Aiding in Depression
11) Heart Health
12) Possibly Reducing Risk of Diabetes
Using Reishi For Health
Your specific case will determine the dosage recommendations right for you. The rule of thumb is that if you are consuming the mushroom itself, you need a higher dose, while extracts from the mushroom provide lower doses.
Before you take it upon yourself to mix Reishi supplements into your diet, it’s always recommended to talk to your doctor. What’s right for someone else may not necessarily be right for you. And while the benefits of Reishi in cancer and immune support look promising in studies, other benefits have less clinical backing. As time goes on, we will continue to be surprised by just how beneficial Reishi is and have the medical research to back each claim.
At MUD\WTR™, we recognize just how helpful these natural ingredients are. By combining Reishi with other ingredients like Masala Chai, Cacao, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane, we created an amazing coffee alternative with one-seventh the caffeine of coffee. Not only did we want our coffee alternative to taste good, but we want it to be beneficial for the body as well. Nothing comes closer to that goal than mud! New to MUD\WTR? Check out our story to learn more about our amazing products.